Calvin Trillin

The election is over, our new president has been inaugurated, and maybe it’s time to change the generally bitter tone of political books from the last eight years. Enter The New Yorker’s venerable Calvin Trillin, who’s being hosted by the Words & Wine series at today's second, over-21 event at the Pan Pacific Hotel. Trillin’s new volume, Deciding the Next Decider: The 2008 Presidential Race in Rhyme (Random House, $14), is small and affordable, a pocketbook of light verse well suited to Metro bus reading. (In truth, it would be an improvement over those Metro bus poems we’re otherwise forced to read.) Using a couplet rhyme scheme so relaxed that it’s conversational, Trillin recounts “Mitt Romney, the PowerPoint moneybag,” rhymes Kucinich with spinach, and how “[Bob] Barr became the Nadar of the Right/No less self-righteous and no more contrite.” He interrupts his comic epic poetry with songs, doggerel, and margin verse. He imagines choruses by the Swiftboat Singers, matches new lyrics to old show tunes (thus, a Clinton supporter sobbing out “The Party’s Over”), envisions the smears Karl Rove would’ve employed against Nelson Mandela, and relishes the inanity of Joe the Plumber and Sarah Palin. (Remember them? Me neither.) It’s opera buffa without the opera. (NOTE: The noon event at Elliott Bay is free; reservations required for the second event, as follows: Pan Pacific Hotel, 2125 Terry Ave., 632-2419, $45. 6:30 p.m.) BRIAN MILLER

Mon., Feb. 2, 12 & 6:30 p.m., 2009

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